"Good chefs, like artists, are visionaries. You have to have a vision of the taste, the look, the smell of your masterpiece; you hold it in your mind and make it materialize."

Onid Jatteri

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where's the BEEF?

Well, in a Vegan Taco Salad, there IS NO BEEF. 

HOWEVER ~  this version satisfies in every way, with taste, texture and true southwest Arizona-style flavors!

The original recipe listed " corn chips, crumbled". I prefer to avoid processed oils, and fresh dehydrated chips are so easy... thinking and planning ahead, I started the process the day before, making dehydrated Corn Kale Chips.  You don't have to have a dehydrator, the chips can be oven dried - lowest setting on a convection oven works well, with careful monitoring towards the end. However, from experience in making crackers, I have to say a dehydrator makes life easier, producing a crisp tasty end product with less handling and NO potential of blackened mystery "things" on the baking sheet!  (they are scary, trust me...)

Corn Kale Chips
Puree' in food processor:
 2 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
 2 cloves of garlic (or more, if you love garlic like I do!)
juice 1/2 lime
Put into mixing bowl.  In processor, puree':
2 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1-2 tsp. taco blend seasoning
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Add and pulse blend:
2 c. kale, chopped
Add to bowl and stir well.  
Spread batter about 1/4" thick on teflex dehydrator sheets; score with knife or pizza cutter.
Begin drying process at 145 degrees for 1 hour.  Reduce heat to 115 degrees, for 8-10 hours. (I time dehydrator projects so the longest drying time happens during the night)  Flip teflex sheets over, peeling off chips onto drying screen upside-down. Continue drying to very crisp - about 4 hours or more.

Serve warm for a real flavor treat!  Store cooled chips in airtight container.

Vegan Taco Salad  (serves 1 generously, or two smaller portions)

Taco Beans
Simmer 2-3 minutes in small fry pan:
1/2 small onion, coarse chopped
3 T. water
1 c. rinsed canned garbanza beans (or just use the whole can!)
1 tsp. taco blend seasoning (make your own!)
Cook uncovered 2-3 minutes until mixture is hot through.

Mash in small bowl:
1/2 large (or two small) avocado
Stir in:
1 T. onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1-3 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
juice 1/2 lime (or 1 whole if small)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Arrange in salad bowl:
2 c. chopped romaine 
1 tomato, chopped
Taco beans
scoop of guacamole
top with crumbled corn kale chips

Left-over guac (ha!) can be frozen in a snack bag - prevents darkening, and thaws quickly.  The taco beans keep well for several days refrigerated; they are good as a quesadilla filling, too.

I went through several days of really craving and enjoying a variety of South West flavored dishes, this was my very favorite!

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